Deconstructing Chronic Low Back Pain in the Older Adult—Step by Step Evidence and Expert-Based Recommendations for Evaluation and Treatment: Part X: Sacroiliac Joint Syndrome

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Abstract

Objective. To present an algorithm of sequential treatment options for managing sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain in the setting of chronic low back pain (CLBP) in the older adult. This is the tenth part in a series, and includes an illustrative clinical case.

Methods. The stepped care drug table and evaluation and treatment algorithm were created following a thorough literature review of approaches and subsequent analysis through a modified Delphi process. The principal investigator developed the initial draft, which was refined for content by an interdisciplinary panel of five experts. The refined materials were then assessed for the feasibility of implementation and validity of recommendations for older adults in a primary care setting by a panel of nine primary care providers. While not exclusive to Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) facilities, an emphasis was made to include resources and medications available to providers in the VHA.

Results. The algorithm and drug table developed to systematically identify and address SIJ pain in the older adult is presented here. The process should begin with recognizing the presenting symptoms of CLBP stemming from the SI region, and supporting physical exam testing using the compression test and thigh thrust maneuver. Identification of the SIJ as a pain generator is followed by assessment and treatment of contributory factors. SIJ pain treatment should begin with education and self-management including exercise, and may escalate to include interventional procedures and/or referral to a pain rehabilitation program.

Conclusions. Pain originating from the SIJ is often under-recognized, but a structured and consistent approach can help identify older patients who would benefit from treatment of this contributor to CLBP.

Key Words. Chronic Low Back Pain; Sacroiliac Joint Pain; Older Adults

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